6 Survival Tips for Moving Your Elderly Loved Ones
Whether moving your senior loved one across the country into a new home, or moving parents into an active adult community, the process can be challenging. Many scenarios require the need to move a senior from their own home, and their adult children will want to ensure the transition goes smoothly, tending to their health, finances and logistics. These six tips can make this difficult process easier.
1. Communication and Choice
Seniors can be emotionally vested in the home they’re leaving, and it’s expected that there will be sadness and apprehension about the move. It can be a tough conversation to have with your aging parent, but in order to make the transition smoother be sure to give them time to grieve the change. Talk about where they will be living and why they are moving. When seniors are asked to leave their longtime homes, a frequent cause of distress is their perceived loss of control, so give your loved one as much choice as possible as they plan and implement the move.
2. Plan Effectively
Before families begin the sorting and organizing process, it will help to have a visual of the size space they are getting into. What rooms need to be furnished? How many square feet is the new residence? Are there shelves or space for favorite books or nick knacks. A good idea is to plot the floor plan of your loved one’s new home on graph paper and then cut out pieces to represent favorite and needed furniture. If they are interested in doing so, let your loved one arrange rooms and play with the space so they can decide what fits and what they need to let go.
3. Enlist Relatives
This will undoubtedly be a big job, so enlist help from your family. Encourage siblings, other close family members, to take a few days off of work. Even children, younger members in the family, and good friends can participate. Surrounding your senior parents with loved ones who are supportive and encouraging could help ease the emotional stress of moving.
4. Sort and Organize
Moving your elderly parent will involve downsizing. Go through the house item by item with your support team. You can categorize objects to make the process easier: items to be moved, keepsakes to be left with family, items to be sold or donated, and items to be thrown out. Don’t allow yourself to become a packing robot lacking feelings. Honor the emotional attachment to personal belongings and allow your senior parent to reminisce as you help sort out their possessions. Remember, these are not just things you’re moving; they’re memories. Also, be open to your own emotions, especially if this was your childhood home.
5. Clean and Repair
After the organizing and packing is complete, there is work that still needs to be done. Whether the house is going to be sold, rented or passed on to another relative — the general requirements are the same. The house should be cleaned, and they should consider making any required repairs now before anything gets worse. It’s better to take care of maintenance issues all at once rather than dealing with them later while the house is for sale (or after renters move in).
6. Plan the Moving Day
There are a few different strategies when moving your senior loved one a great distance to their new home. A full-service mover is the easiest way to go, but also the most expensive. They will load everything, deliver to its destination and put things in place. The cost of moving the contents of a two-bedroom home across the country can exceeds $8,000. Families can save some money on the move by using a self-service mover, which means the family will load the moving truck, but the cargo will be hauled by a professional mover. Then there’s the do-it-yourself (DIY) option where you can rent a moving truck or trailer. But, even the DIY option of renting a truck and paying for gas, lodging, and meals is not cheap: a move from Atlanta to Los Angeles in a 26-foot truck could exceed $3,000.
This discussion of costs doesn’t even mention the most precious cargo of all: your loved ones. Most senior people have outgrown their road-trip days and probably wouldn’t be too keen on a 32-hour drive. So even if you do decide to haul everything yourself, consider arranging for your senior loved one to fly to their destination. And of course, you have to be cognoscente and prepared for of any health issues they may have.
Each family’s circumstances are unique, so we’re hesitant to give blanket advice – but we hope these tips help you better plan and execute your elder loved one’s next move.